Cradling the spine on each side, facet joints allow the backbone to move. If these joints are affected by the swelling of nearby muscles, tendons, and ligaments, they can become a source of pain associated with movement. For times when pain medications or other treatments such as muscle strengthening exercises aren’t providing sufficient relief, facet joint injections may be effective. The expert surgeons at The Spine Institute Center in Beverly Hills want to share a few crucial details about this unique form of treatment.
Delivered directly into the affected area, facet joint injections combine a local anesthetic with corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medications. The anesthetic eases the pain from the injection itself and the anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the swelling that is placing pressure on the joints. Injections are administered on an outpatient basis.
Facet joint injections may provide enough relief to allow patients to actively participate in physical therapy without extreme discomfort. Some patients also experience a reduction in stress and anxiety once their pain reaches a point where it can be managed or minimized.
Results vary based on what’s causing the joint pain. Some patients will only need one injection until the issue affecting the facet joints is resolved. Others may enjoy temporary relief for a several weeks or months before needing another injection. It usually takes a few days for injections to fully work.
Facet joint injections won’t be effective if there are other unrelated sources of back or neck pain. Ideal candidates are individuals with joint stiffness and pain that affects range of motion and makes it difficult to carry out everyday movements.
Often an effective method of pain relief, facet joint injections aren’t meant to treat the actual source of joint pain, which is usually an underlying condition like arthritis or age-related wear and tear. However, the temporary relief can minimize disruption to quality of life enough to allow you to go about your daily activities without being distracted by pain.
Though non-surgical treatments are often successful at relieving chronic pain, more severe discomfort may require a procedure like spinal decompression or transforaminal interbody fusion. Beverly Hills is home to amazing spine surgeons who are dedicated to helping their patients live pain-free lives. Call Dr. Hyun Bae at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person evaluation. We hope to hear from you soon.